Talented teacher lied for 'ideal' job

23rd December 2005 at 00:00
False grades on application form lead to two-year ban. David Doyle reports

An "exceptionally talented" music teacher has been struck off the teaching register for two years, for lying on his CV. Marcus Hopkin applied for his "ideal job" as music teacher at Christ College in Brecon after seeing an advertisement on the TES website.

Mr Hopkin, 32, claimed he had a distinction in his music A-level and a qualification from the Birmingham Conservatoire.

He was given the job but a year later routine checks by the college uncovered that his qualifications were fake. Mr Hopkin had only achieved a grade C for music A-level. He also failed to complete his Associate of Birmingham School of Music (ABSM) qualification in piano performance.

A hearing last week of the General Teaching Council for Wales's professional conduct committee heard that Mr Hopkin had "staggering musical ability". But GTCW representative Damian Phillips said: "The whole basis of academic integrity is that you are what you achieve.

"It is not the case that Mr Hopkin made a little white lie. His qualifications were not good enough, so he changed them to get the job."

Mr Hopkin, 32, told the hearing he lied because he desperately wanted the job. He said: "All the points in the job description were what I could offer. It was the ideal job for me - I felt total elation at being at such a prestigious college.

"I have no excuse for lying on my application form. I wanted to impress a prestigious employer so I falsely stated my qualifications."

The college wrote to the Birmingham Conservatoire and was told Mr Hopkin did not have the ABSM qualifications he claimed. He was called to a meeting with head David Jones who told him he was going to be dismissed.

Mr Jones said: "Marcus's ability was never called into question but he misled the college.

"His O and A-levels were significantly below what he stated. If we had known the true grades I doubt whether he would have been short-listed for the post."

NUT representative Steve Jenkins told the hearing that Mr Hopkin's exceptional musical talent and skill as a teacher meant he should not have his teaching career hindered.

He said: "Here is someone with staggering musical ability.

"Though there was harm done to the other applicants and harm done to the integrity of the process, there was no harm done to any of the pupils."

Mr Hopkin, of Porthcawl, south Wales, denied that his behaviour amounted to professional conduct. But chairman Gareth Jones said the deception meant they had no choice but to impose the most serious disciplinary order.

He said: "Your actions were premeditated and deliberate, and fundamentally incompatible with the teaching profession.

"The committee has decided to impose a prohibition order. This means you cannot act as a registered teacher for a specified period of two years."

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